8 Common Running Questions: Do I Really Have To...
...Warm Up?1 of 9
Yes. Easing into activity is more comfortable than starting fast and may help prevent injury. Walk three minutes, alternate running and walking (30 to 60 seconds each) for five to 10 minutes, then run.
...Cool Down?2 of 9
Yes. Walk for at least 10 minutes to help the heart pump blood to tired muscles, which speeds recovery.
...Stretch?3 of 9
No. If there are stretches that feel good, do them, but be careful—overzealous stretching may cause injury.
...Take Walk Breaks?4 of 9
Using walk breaks can mean the difference between struggling to finish and finishing strong. Take 15- to 60-second walk breaks every 30 to 60 seconds from the get-go. Don't wait until you're already tired.
...Do Speed Work?5 of 9
Only when your goal is to get faster. Speed work increases injury risk, so beginners should avoid it for at least the first six months.
...Do Strength Training?6 of 9
No. It's not necessary for improving distance running. If you like it, though, you can do it.
...Do a Weekly Long Rung?7 of 9
No, you only need to go long every 14 days, but make sure to do these—they're important for maintaining and improving endurance.
...Know How Far or How Fast I'm Running?8 of 9
No, unless you're targeting a long race or a personal-best finish. If you're running for fitness, it's okay to run based on time. Running 30 minutes at a pace that feels good is fine most days. On long-run days, simply stay out longer.